Dutch artist herman de vries (1931) represented the Netherlands at the 2015 edition of the Venice Biennale. His presentation of ‘to be all ways to be’, that de vries developed with curators Colin Huizing and Cees de Boer, was chosen by the jury over four other entries. ‘The jury was fascinated by the commitment of de vries and believed that it would be a strong, credible, intimate presentation in all its simplicity and conciseness within the spectacle of the Biennale’, stated the Mondriaan Fund. The jury further believed the work of the vries fits the current preoccupations with the environment and its increasing broader social attention and awareness. de vries intended to show three-dimensional installations, including new work that he created on deserted and overgrowing islands in the Venetian lagoon.
The artist, who was originally trained as botanist and later biological researcher, was part of the Zero group (1958-1966). Since 1953 he makes collages, paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and films. He also publishes texts and poems and is the publisher of artists’ books.
For more than 60 years he’s been working on a diverse body of work in which art, science and philosophy are confronted with the reality of the world. The relationship between man, nature and culture has dominated the Dutchman’s work for decades. He is focusing increasingly on the role and characteristics of the individual (natural) object within groups or species that form a unit. Biology and botany hereby form an important framework. He sees nature as the best model and it is his goal to show the immanent-poetical quality of it. Hopefully he will managed to surpass the jungle of the often showy and shallow art dominating the Biennale.
The Stedelijk Museum Schiedam showed a retrospective in October 2014. herman de vries. all was on view in Schiedam from 20 September 2014 until 25 January 2015.